Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has praised Shunsuke Nakamura's bravery, after the playmaker answered the Kilmarnock bullies by helping his side into the Scottish League Cup semi-finals.
The Japanese international suffered some heavy tackles at Rugby Park yesterday evening, but the 30-year-old did not let the rough treatment affect him and responded by scoring a superb first-half free-kick after Scott McDonald headed Celtic into a 15th-minute lead.
Nakamura had proved his point, and Strachan decided to take him off at half-time.
Danny Invincibile pulled a goal back for Kilmarnock in the 67th minute, but Aiden McGeady quickly restored Celtic's two-goal lead to take them into the last four alongside Rangers, Falkirk and Dundee United.
"I told the players not to lose their focus and to get on with it and win the game," said Strachan. "What Naka did was put the ball down and put it in the back of the net. That's the best way of answering anybody."
Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies had no real complaints about the result, apart from the defending which led to one of the smallest men on the pitch scoring the opening goal with his head.
"You will not beat Celtic if you gift them goals like we did," Jefferies moaned. ".
"And Nakamura has done that to us and other teams before. But we kept plugging away and I can have no complaints about the effort and commitment."